Gear 101

Our esteemed gear editors offer the insight and advice you need to find the right gear for you.

May 19, 2009
Outside Magazine

RUNNING SHOES: Yes, Your Socks Matter
RACING: Thin and cool, Nike's nylon Dri-Fit Elite Vent Running Socks fit like another layer of skin, with heat-venting holes on top. They're best for snug shoes, warm weather, or racing. $12;
TRAINING: We love socks built specifically for right and left feet, like the flat-seamed, mostly polyester PowerSox APF Performance Lo-Cut, because a better fit means less bunching around your toes. $11;
COLD DAYS: Merino-wool socks, like Icebreaker's Bike/Run Lite Micro, are warmer than synthetics when wet but breathe so well you won't even notice them in midsummer. $14;
LONG RUNS: Thorlos's Experia socks are hybrids—the heel and toes, where your feet take the most abuse, are heavily padded, while the rest of this CoolMax sock is gauzy thin to release heat. $14;

CAMERAS: Choice Extras
EYE-FI SHARE Insert this 2GB SD card and connect instantly to your network, then wirelessly upload photos to your PC, blog, or social-network site (supports Flickr, Facebook, and many others). $60;
3M MPRO110 Pack this iPod-size digital projector along for a serious visual punch. Connected to a laptop or multimedia device, it can project photos and video up to 50 inches tall. $360;
GOPRO HELMET HERO WIDE A wearable camera equipped with a 170-degree lens and a five-meg sensor. Available mounts include those for helmet, ski, surfboard, and body. Press the shutter and it films in 30-frames-per-second video. Or set it to take a photo every two or five seconds. $190;
CANON PIXMA IP2600 Tiny ink nozzles in this ridiculously cheap unit make large-format prints with superfine detail. $50; canonĀ­
EPSON ARTISAN 800 This Wi-Fi printer lets you connect from anywhere in the house. $300;

SUNGLASSES: Lenses 101
Safer, lighter POLYCARBONATE (plastic) lenses are best for high-impact sports. Otherwise, go with optically superior GLASS.
Sport-specific TINTS: Best all-around performers, for road, trail, and water, are some shade of BROWN, a.k.a. COPPER or AMBER, warmish tints that amp depth and contrast without doing violence to natural colors. For low light, especially in fog or mist, choose YELLOW. Where light is flat, such as snow under clouds, ROSE and VIOLET put depth back into the picture. Good old GRAY and GREEN-GRAY remain faves, because there's no color shift, but while these cool, neutral hues are good for water and pavement, they flatten out the view. Warmer is better for action sports.
Always solid investments: POLARIZED lenses, which reduce glare and are indispensable on the water, and PHOTOCHROMIC lenses, which adjust to conditions, darkening or lightening the tint. Many lenses feature both options.

iPhone accessories abound: Two of our favorites are the GRIFFIN CLARIFI ($35;, a protective case with a built-in macro lens that lets the camera focus as close as four inches (as opposed to the normal 18), and the INCASE POWER SLIDER ($100;, a hard shell/auxiliary charger that doubles the battery life.
THE BLACKBERRY REMOTE STEREO GATEWAY ($90; connects to your home stereo so you can wirelessly stream music to your speakers via Bluetooth.
When traveling, your music only sounds as good as your headphones. For sweet highs and full-bodied lows, check out the SHURE SE115 sound-isolating earbuds ($120; They block out external noise much better than stock earphones, so you don't turn up your tunes too loud, which is good for your eardrums.

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